It should be the easiest way to meet someone:
Just sign up for a dating app!
But so many women have gotten burned online.
The gentlemen they were hoping to meet turned out to be scammers, catfishers, bots, or users.
No wonder nearly 1 in 2 people say that using dating apps leaves them feeling frustrated.
Many women complain that men continue to contact them after they’ve said they’re not interested or send them inappropriate pictures.
What’s a woman to do?
Swear off dating sites entirely?
That’s certainly one option.
But that can be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Online dating is still one of the easiest ways to meet men…
As long as you know how to stay safe.
Will You Be A Target?
Some women get targeted by scammers more than others.
If you are divorced or widowed and over the age of 50, you may find that scammers take a greater interest in you.
Scammers look for targets that they perceive as lonely and vulnerable.
One thing you can do is have a friend take a look at your bio to see if there’s anything that suggests you might fit that description.
Young women also need to keep their eyes open.
They’re more likely to be targets of pushy and inappropriate men.
Lastly, if you are on a trial membership, or if your membership is about to expire, you may be targeted by bots.
Many users claim that they were convinced to sign up to a dating site or prolong their membership because of messages from attractive singles in their area—messages that became unavailable after they signed up.
Although none of the big dating sites will admit to using bots or fake accounts to lure in customers, the FTC sued Match Group (parent company of Tinder, OkCupid, Hinge, PlentyofFish, among others) in 2019 for fraud.
The FTC claimed that 1 in 4 new registrations on Match.com was associated with scamming. There was even a period where more than half the communication taking place on the site was coming from fraudulent accounts.
The lesson is clear:
You will encounter fake or fraudulent accounts online. Be prepared.
Know The Red Flags
Every online dater should know the most common red flags.
If a man asks for money, claims to be working in another country, always has an excuse not to meet, or tells you a story that doesn’t check out, he may be a scammer.
Unfortunately, that advice only helps you after the fact.
You’ve already wasted time and emotional energy on this person.
Even if you break off communication, you can end up feeling frustrated or disheartened.
What you need is a way to avoid these guys entirely…
So that you never get drawn into conversation.
The following tips can help you do that.
Spot a Genuine Guy
What all scammers have in common is a desire to win you over and gain your trust.
Which gives us an important clue…
If a profile seems more attractive than most and the guy seems to know all the right things to say, then he could be a scammer.
Call it the “Slickness Test.”
A “slick” profile is more likely to be a scammer than an average-looking profile with a bunch of average-looking pictures.
So don’t pass over the average guys. They’re more likely to be real.
Next, pay attention to his messages.
If you send a message and get an immediately reply, you may be dealing with a bot.
The best way to flush out a bot is to ask it an unusual question. A real person will address your question, while a bot will return a generic response like, “That’s cool,” or give a nonsense answer.
You also want to look for appropriate pacing.
Scammers ramp up the emotional intensity fast, confessing that they’re falling in love with you even though they’ve never met you.
Genuine guys are often cautious. They want to meet and get to know you before they make any assumptions.
That hesitancy can make them less appealing than a man who’s pursuing you with everything he’s got, but consider it a good sign. Hesitant men want something real, and they know that love takes time.
Finally, look for guys who have a sense of propriety. In other words, they’re playing by the rules.
They know that online dating follows a certain sequence: chat online, talk on the phone or hop on video, and then meet in person.
They wouldn’t ask you to skip a step in that sequence.
They expect that you’ll do your due diligence on them to make sure they check out.
An average guy may not come across as the romantic hero of your dreams, but give him a chance.
When you’re sitting across the table from him, laughing at his jokes, you’ll be glad you held out for someone real.